Casement vs Sash Window

Casement Window
(36x60” wood window, installed)
Sash Window
(36x60” wood window, installed)
Cost varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
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Casement Window
Casement Window
+ Popular in modern design
+ Energy-efficient
+ Excellent airflow when opened
+ Easier to open
+ Easier to clean from inside
+ More secure from intruders
- More expensive
- Not suited next to walkways or patios
- More difficult to add screens
Get free advice and estimates from pros in your city.
(36x60” wood window, installed)
Sash Window
Sash Window
+ Suited to traditional home design
+ Can be cleaned from inside
+ Screens are unobtrusive
+ Flat profile good next to walkways or patios
- May leak air
- Less airflow when opened
- May be harder to open
- Easier for intruders to open
- Less energy-efficient
Get free advice and estimates from pros in your city.
(36x60” wood window, installed)

The windows of your home link your house to the outside. Not only do they play a large role in the outward appearance of your house, but they let light and air in. They are just as important as an interior design element. Two of the most popular window styles are casement and sash windows. We compare these windows in detail so that you can make an informed decision on which is better for your home.


Both casement and sash windows can be used with a variety of architectural styles. Casement windows have actually been used for longer than sash windows, going back as far as medieval times. However, they have a sleek and unobtrusive look that makes them very popular in modern design. On the other hand, sash windows were first seen in the 17th century and have come to be associated with traditional Georgian and Victorian design.

Casement windows tend to be tall and narrow and swing out vertically. Modern casement windows have one panel of glass. This makes for an uninterrupted view of the outside.  Sash windows usually have two panels that open by either sliding up and down or from side to side. Sash windows often have muntins dividing up the pane for a more traditional look.  

Both windows can be bought with frames made of vinyl, aluminum, wood, steel, and clad wood, depending on your preference and budget.


Windows are one of the main sources of energy loss in your home. Even the smallest cracks can allow heated or cooled air to escape from your home, while at the same time letting in air from the outside. Modern sash and casement windows both have double-glazed glass to increase the insulation value of the window, but it is around the edges of the frames that the difference between the two lies.

A new casement window has superior energy-efficiency when compared to a new sash window because it fits tightly against the frame when closed and locked. When well-fitted, there is little likelihood of a gap through which air can escape, making it a good choice in both hot and cold climates. Whether you are heating or cooling the air inside the house, casement windows provide a better seal.

Sash windows, on the other hand, are more likely to let air in or out, resulting in higher heating or cooling costs over time. The channels that hold the sashes in place must be very tight to prevent air from leaking out. Even most new models of sash windows have some degree of air transmission. Of course, old sash windows are notorious for being leaky. It is easier to replace old ones rather than trying to retrofit existing windows with weather-stripping.


It is wonderful to have a fresh breeze wafting through the house, and casement windows maximize the airflow. When cranked open, a casement window is open from top to bottom, allowing for an unimpeded passage of air. On the other hand, a sash window that is pushed all the way up still has solid glass covering the top half, cutting down on the available airflow.

And, as mentioned above, when you do not want air coming in, casement windows are much more draft-proof than sash windows.


Installation of a new window is usually a job for professionals. The weight of the window, in addition to the finishing work required, makes this a difficult DIY job. The main difficulty in installation comes when you are switching from one window style to another.

Sash window units are much thicker than casements. So, if you are replacing a sash with a casement, there will be a gap from 1 to 3 inches on the inside that must be finished with plaster and molding.

Going from a casement to a sash window, however, will result in a frame that sticks out farther on the inside, and that will also require extra work to finish the job properly.


A 48x48-inch vinyl sash window costs an average of $580. Removing and disposing of the existing window costs $40. Labor costs for the project are $250, for a total cost of $870 to install a new sash window.

A 36x60-inch wood casement window costs $1,190. Removing and disposing of the existing window costs $40. Labor costs are $250, for a total of $1,480 to install a new casement window.

For either a sash or casement window, an optional addition to the project would be the installation of an exterior awning with an aluminum frame and white-painted panel and a rain gutter along the front edge. The material costs are $230 plus $110 for labor for a total cost of $340.

Ease of Use

Casement windows are easier to open or close for most people. For those who may have difficulty pushing a tight sash up or down, the crank mechanism of a casement window is easy to operate. It is also good for shorter people who may not be able to reach far enough up with a sash window. And when the window is located in a slightly awkward spot, such as over a kitchen sink, you will not need to stretch as far as when you have a sash window.

Modern sash windows are fairly easy to open and close, however. The spring-loaded balance system makes them easy to raise and lower.


Everyone wants to have sparkling-clean windows, and both sash and casement windows have advantages for maintenance. When a casement window is fully open, it is an easy matter to clean both sides of the window from the inside. Modern sash windows are also easy to clean, as they tilt in for ease of access.​


Depending on what is outside your window, you may find a casement or sash window to be a better choice. For example, if your house is close to the one next to it, an open casement window would block the walkway between them, and a sash window would be the better choice. The same goes for windows opening onto patios or porches. A sash window does not protrude out into the space when it is open.

However, when there is nothing to obstruct outside the window, a casement window is an excellent option.


Casement windows provide better security for your home. When a casement window is closed and latched, it is impossible for an intruder to pry it open without breaking the glass. On the other hand, some double-hung sash windows can be pried open with a crowbar. Locking mechanisms on a sash window can help with this problem.

If you have to make an emergency exit from your home, a casement window will give you more room, as the entire pane swings out. A sash window will only give you an opening of the height of one sash to fit through.


While it is possible to add screens to casement windows, they have to be mounted on the inside of the windows. This interferes with the look of the windows from inside the house. On the other hand, sash windows can be covered with exterior screens, providing a better look from inside.